Line Up during Round of 16 at the Meo Vissla Ericeira Pro on October 8, 2021 in Ericeira, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)
- Young Continues to Build Momentum, Smashes Competition in Huge Waves
- Ezekiel Lau Claims Ticket Into Semifinals
- Devault Continues Rampage Through MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira
- Next Call Saturday at 7:15 a.m (WEST)
- More at www.WorldSurfLeague.com
After running one and a half heat, the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira, Stop No.2 on the 2021 Challenger Series, suffered through a 6-hour hold due to thick fog while the ocean was detonating in the distance.
Early in the afternoon, the skies cleared and competition resumed in huge conditions, with double overhead sets challenging competitors at Ribeira d’Ilhas. It was evident the commitment in the bigger and steeper sections of the waves would pay dividends and right from the get go surfers attacked the lineup fearlessly.
Young Continues to Build Momentum, Smashes Competition in Huge Waves
California’s Nat Young (USA) collected a fourth consecutive heat win in fantastic fashion, chasing the biggest set waves and placing his turns in the most vertical sections to drop a near-perfect 19.30 heat total (out of a possible 20). Surprisingly Young hasn’t done well in the past couple of events in Ericeira but with conditions being absolutely superb this week, his style and technique spoke volume and the results followed suit.
“On a day like this it’s kind of common sense that the judges want to see big turns on big waves,” Young said. “That’s what I wanted to you anyway I wasn’t going to ride small waves. I rode a step-up, a 6’1 Proton, there’s a lot of water moving, it’s almost like Sunset or Haleiwa, you don’t need quite as big a board but similar feel.”
Young went on to put another clinic in his Quarterfinal matchup against Carlos Munoz (CRI) tonight as conditions started to provide clean walls again. His 18.23 total may have paled in comparison to his earlier exploits but it was the second highest of the day.
His upcoming Semifinal clash against Lau is one for the ages if conditions continue to pump in Ericeira on Saturday.
Hats off to Munoz for a valiant effort in the Quarters against Young, the Costa Rican posted an incredible 17.56 total which would have won him any other heat today, but unfortunately he faced an unstoppable Californian in that heat.
“I really tried to give it my best out there,” Munoz said. “Honestly I don’t mind losing like this where I’ve surfed really well and I’m really happy and positive. Now we head to France and I grew up in beachbreaks and punchy barrels so I think I can do good there. I’ll definitely bring a lot of confidence from this result. Pura vida!”
Ezekiel Lau Claims Ticket Into Semifinals
‘The Ultimate Surfer’ series winner Ezekiel Lau (HAW) had the longest day of work in the field as the Hawaiian surfed in the very first heat at 8 a.m this morning and second-to-last heat of the day, roughly 10 hours later.
“I had to figure out the lineup all over the lineup tonight as my first two waves closed out completely,” Lau explained. “Since I didn’t have priority I figured I’d hang out on the inside a little bit and that paid off as I got my two scores there in that wide corner. I’m a little bummed I didn’t land my last turn on my second wave but I’ll save it for tomorrow I guess.”
Devault Continues Rampage Through MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira
One man that did not seem to suffer through any consequences of the large waves on offer is Hawaii’s Imaikalani Devault (HAW). The talented regular footer kept his momentum going, posting a fourth consecutive excellent heat total (over 16 points) to dispatch Josh Burke (BRB) and advance into the Quarters.
“I’ve made that round a few times in my career but never got past it so I’m ecstatic,” Devault said. “Waves were definitely tricky but I’m stoked I got the job done. I’ve gone back to my traditional PU board just because the waves are a lot more power and size today, and you could even use a step up out there.”
High Tide Brings Challenges as Surfers Vie for Quarterfinal Berth
Conditions became extremely difficult as the tide neared the high mark with a lot of water moving and bumps on the face that unsettled most of the athletes at some point.
Australians Jackson Baker and Dylan Moffat managed to overcome the difficulties presented in their respective heats and the two friends will face off in the Quarters when the event resumes.
“It’s almost like a day-long heat with all the waiting it’s hard to keep your energy up like this,” Baker explained. “Those 30 minutes can exert a lot out of you so you need to be ready. I keep claiming all those waves which I promised the boys I wouldn’t do but in contests like this with all the emotions running I just like to show who I am.”
Alejo Muniz (BRA) put up a great fight against Callum Robson (AUS) as the two battled through a tough heat and ultimately moved into the Quarters as the lone remaining Brazilian in the event.
Event officials will reconvene at 7:15 a.m (WEST) Saturday for the next call, with a potential finish on the line.
UPCOMING MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS:
QF 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)
QF 2: Shino Matsuda (JPN) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
QF 3: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Ariane Ochoa (EUK)
QF 4: Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) vs. Luana Silva (HAW)
REMAINING MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA MEN’S QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS:
QF 3: Jackson Baker (AUS) vs. Dylan Moffat (AUS)
QF 4: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Imaikalani Devault (HAW)
MEO VISSLA PRO ERICEIRA MEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.93 def. Jordan Lawler (AUS) 8.00
QF 2: Nat Young (USA) 18.23 def. Carlos Munoz (CRI) 17.56
The health and safety of athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and there are a robust set of procedures in place to keep everyone safe. Athletes, staff, media and the public will be required to show proof of the “Health Pass” before accessing any of the event facilities or the beach.
The WSL encourages fans to follow the event online and watch all the action LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.
Watch LIVE Action!
All the MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira action will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and the WSL’s Facebook Page. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.
The 2021 MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira is scheduled from October 2-10, 2021, at praia de Ribeira d’Ilhas, Ericeira – Portugal. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
The MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira is supported by MEO, Vissla, Tourism of Portugal, Mafra City Council, Ericeira World Surfing Reserve, EDP, Estrella Galicia, You & The Sea Hotel and Apartments and Hertz.
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